Lighter, more powerful Ferrari California seen at 2012 Geneva Motor Show

Article by Anita Panait, on March 6, 2012

Another Ferrari vehicle currently on display at the Geneva Motor Show is the new Ferrari California, which is lighter but has more power. The Ferrari California’s chassis has undergone the most advanced aluminium fabrication techniques with Scaglietti Centre of Excellence, significantly cutting its overall weight by 30 kg. 

The car’s engine offers a power output of 490 CV, which is 30 CV higher than the previous version, which allows the car to accelerate from zero to 100 km/h in just 3.8 seconds. Customers who prefer to experience a more dynamic driving experience can select the Handling Speciale package, which significantly decrease body roll and improves the California’s response rate to driver inputs. 

The package includes magnetorheological dampers controlled by ECU running patented Ferrari software, which cuts the response time by half.  The package also includes stiffer springs and a new steering box that features a 10% quicker steering ratio. 

The California version on display features a Blu Swaters livery with a Grigio Argento Nürburgring roof and a Sabbia interior.  Accompanying the California at the Geneva Motor Show are the two other recent models of the supercar manufacturer -- the FF in Bianco Italia livery and the 458 Spider in Giallo Tristrato.

Ferrari’s new car lineup at Geneva also features a 458 Italia in a sporty two-tone Rosso Corsa and Nero Daytona livery. Ferrari’s stand at the show includes a special area wherein clients could sign in for the Tailor-Made program, which offers a variety of materials, colors and finishes that were used during the entire existence of the Prancing Horse.

The Tailor-Made area will showcase an FF with several unique customized features, including a new three-layer Grigio Ingrid livery, Testa di Moro semi-aniline leather seats, pinstripe cloth, teak-trimmed boot and cashmere headliner.

When talking about a vehicle’s signature features, there is no doubt that for the Ferrari California, it’s the retractable hard top that makes it stand out the most. With the weight-bearing structure made of cast aluminum and panels composed of entirely aluminum, the total weight of the top is lower.

By implementing an original stowage system, it made it possible for the boot space to be larger regardless of whether the top is down or up. In terms of operation, closing or opening the hardtop is completed in merely 14 seconds. For the configuration, the Ferrari California makes use of a wishbone suspension on the front. Meanwhile for the rear, it utilizes the specially made multilink system. This new multilink system ensures that the suspension has that longitudinal flexibility while at the same time it makes sure that the transverse rigidity values remain high.

In practical terms, this means that the Ferrari California is able to absorb any of the unevenness and to dampen effectively the vibration and noise. As such, it offers not only a comfortable ride but delivers agile handling. Being offered by the brand as an option is the SCM Magnetorheological Suspension Control System, which was first seen on the Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano. Aside from the retractable hard top, another distinct feature of the Ferrari California is that both bodyshell and chassis are composed entirely of aluminum.

The shell casts and extrusions also utilize various aluminum technologies. This has resulted in the model having remarkable versatility, driveability, and comfort inside. Even then, this did not increase the weight of the chassis or even the dimensions of its structural sections.

Such a thing would not have been possible if the brand used a traditional steel layout. Compared to the Spider, the Ferrari California has better static rigidity, both flexional and torsional. Thus not only is handling guaranteed no matter what the condition of the road is, comfort for which the GT is known for is present as well whether the retractable top is down or up.

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